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Episode Ten – Interview With The Author of “Creating Christ”

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Today we interview James Valliant, author of the important book “Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Invented Christianity”. This interview is basically a question-led interview and long answers to the relatively few questions which were required.

The thesis of Creating Christ is that Christianity is the result of Roman propaganda in the first and second centuries. Designed to pacify Messianic Jews and to integrate them into Roman society.

This might not seem to be an important subject or a probable claim, but it really is. If Christianity and its proper place in the history of the West is to be understood, it is important that the true nature of Christianity is understood.

But, is this claim true? Yes, as you will discover when you listen to the podcast and or read the transcript.

You can also purchase Creating Christ here, among other places.

Episode Transcript

This episode is about one hour and fifty-six minutes long. As a result, we have not implemented the episode transcript in the usual form. We have provided a transcript in an edited and more formal form. It is much like a formal written answer to the question, however the questions do very closely match the content of the audio.

However, please note that there may be minor mistakes in the transcript. I have done my best to clean up any spellling and grammatical errors, however, due to time constraints, it has not been possible to edit out all possibility of such.

Click here to download the PDF transcript.

8 comments

    1. I think so. We are looking at going back and doing this for the previous episode, where I interview Juanma. And possibly earlier ones.

      But, future episodes will likely include a PDF download of the transcript/scripts. As well as the more typical way to do things, with the content posted directly on the blog entry and over multiple pages.

  1. Valliant & Fahy deserve some kind of honorary doctorate for their brilliant, groundbreaking analysis: destined to be taught in every ancient history course.

    1. It is certainly some remarkable scholarship right there!

      I have met James Valliant in person and he accompanied me and my fiancee to the Getty Villa, which houses many Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. There he gave us a guided tour and explanation of many of the antiquities housed there.

      From that, it is evident that he knows a lot about ancient history, far beyond what is in the book. Which just goes to further the case for giving him an honorary degree of some kind.

      Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of meeting Fahy in person, but, I can only assume his own knowledge is similarly impressive.

      And as you probably know, they have given honorary degrees for far less impressive bodies of work.

  2. How much of this was lifted from “Caesar’s Messiah” by Joseph Atwill (2011)? This isn’t ground breaking. Anyone who says that Atwill ignores prior scholarship and has no credibility.

    What would be more interesting is a discussion on the differences between to the two books or how this one supplements the other.

    1. None of it is “lifted” from “Caesar’s Messiah”. The authors have not “lifted” any ideas from Atwill or any other author.

      In fact, the development of the central thesis of “Creating Christ” predates “Caesar’s Messiah” by quite a large margin.

      The latter was indeed published in 2011. However, the authors started their work on this in the 80s, well before that or any of the other books mentioned here were published.

      And as I understand it from talking to James, the important ideas of the book were largely understood by 2011, the time when Atwill wrote his book.

      So, it is rather unlikely that that much could have been lifted by a book that came decades later …

      To the extent that they learned anything from that book, I have no doubt that it is appropriately credited and sourced. In fact, “Creating Christ” refers to the work of Atwill several times. Including specifically referencing “Caeser’s Messiah” on at least one occasion.

      Does Atwill’s book explore some of the same kinds of ideas? Of course. But, it is not true that the authors of “Creating Christ” lifted any of these ideas.

      As for a deep comparison of “Caesar’s Messiah” and “Creating Christ”, well who knows if that will appear on this website. But, I will venture one thing …

      I have not read the former, although I understand the general thesis it presents. I would, however, suggest that “Creating Christ” is far more encompassing a book and presents a broader thesis than “Caesar’s Messiah”.

      I have been informed that Atwill’s book is certainly worth reading and I will definitely read it in the near future.

    2. This from James Valliant, co-author of “Creating Christ”:

      “We are very different. Atwill cites stuff, but rejects it — and we do not. Like most of critical scholarship. Atwill asks his readers to accept many things that we think are dubious, such as the simultaneous composition of the Gospels, dubious dating for the Paule epistles and a whole host of other issues. We take an entirely different approach on many things — but especially, our primary arguments are simply not his.

      I will be appearing on two podcasts with Dr Robert Price, the renowned scholar who so harshly criticized Atwill — and debated him — has been persuaded by our book. Those interviews will highlight the differences, obviously. Check out MythVision and Miguel Conner’s podcasts next months where Price and I will be having a friendly chat about JUST THIS.”

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